Focus, Freelancer!


Write a sentence. Check Instagram. Complete the paragraph. Refresh my email. Check Twitter. Remember I should be writing. Create to-do list. Grab a snack. Write some more.

As I take my 20th writing break to watch just a few minutes (read: episodes) of Sex and the City, I can’t help but wonder: should I have been born sooner? I so envy Carrie, who can sit at her desk and crank out a column entry, free from the distractions of Instagram, Twitter, and the comments section. Hell, she could barely use email for the majority of the series. Someone like myself could certainly benefit from the simplicity of the 90s-early 2000s, especially since I’m discovering that my FOMO extends way beyond missing out on events my friends attend without me. It’s also about what’s happening in the world around me. If I don’t check my phone every 30 seconds, how will I know what’s going on?! I see that it’s about so much more than FOMO. It’s about discipline, and realizing that I could use a larger dosage.

Since my Funemployment began, I've had lots of free time, time that I've wanted since before I can remember. I mean, so much happens between the hours of 9 and 5! Why should I have to spend them behind a desk, going into an office shortly after sunrise and leaving after it sets? Once I made the decision to venture out and pursue a career as a freelancer, I immediately began to enjoy new liberties. I took midday trips to the gym with my dad, booked vacations, backpacked through Europe, went on 11am coffee dates with my mom, and began spending the week in DC with Derrick as opposed to long weekends. Embracing the "free" in freelancer was effortless, but as I settled down to focus on the actual work aspect, I realized that it takes a greater level of discipline than what was required during my time in corporate America. It wasn’t until I really needed to focus that I realized that focusing is easier said than done.

After too many days of procrastination, distractions, feeling unmotivated, and sometimes just not really knowing where to start, I decided to change my surroundings. I camped out in my new favorite coffee shop and slowly jotted down a to-do list. With a daily task list, I’d be able to end each day proud of what I accomplished as opposed to feeling like I just spent another day embracing the “free” and not living as a true “freelancer.” That one day, I was really productive. And don’t get me wrong, there have been other days that I’ve been incredibly proud of my progress. But overall, I’ve been itching to find out why I’m having such a tough time focusing enough to make my dreams come true when I spent 40+ hours a week contributing to the dreams of others.  

I learned early on the importance of having a tribe. This tribe should consist of people who are like-minded enough to make friendship enjoyable but also possess enough diversity in thought to offer a unique perspective. Two others in my tribe can relate to my situation: one is looking to go into business for herself but finds herself going through bouts of feeling unmotivated, and the other, like me, left his corporate job in NYC, moved home, and freelanced. What I’m learning from both of them is that self-employment is a whole other beast mainly because you don’t have the luxury of a 9-5 determining when you can work on your own personal endeavors. With an entire day all to yourself, it’s easy to put off tasks and say you’ll do more tomorrow. It’s easy to shrug it off when you didn’t tackle everything on your to-do list because there’s no one there to reprimand you (unless you’re completing work for a client). It’s easy to get so overwhelmed looking at your workload that you decide to do none of it. And it’s especially easy to get tempted to say yes to happy hour even though you know you haven’t accomplished much that day. When freelancing, you’re responsible for developing discipline that allows you to enjoy the “free” without sacrificing the work aspect.

My newest assignment, ironically, has nothing to do with the actual work I do as I become my own boss. It’s more so about time management, discipline, and the habits I create. It’s about setting personal goals and reaching milestones I’ve set for myself. The freelance life isn’t for the faint of heart…or those who chase the shiny red ball. 

How do you focus as a freelancer?




Photo found here.

13 comments

  1. I know it sounds overly simple but writing out a daily schedule is probably the best way to help. And I don't mean digitally. Something hand written in a calendar or on a white board or something...there's something about our own handwriting that says "do this now!" I had this convo with Daryl and Dave and they both suggested handwriting a schedule. My prob is the opposite, figuring out how to tackle my dreams in the few hours I have left in the day after slaving away but the same tactics help. Text me if you need more ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. i think it helps to have an actual "formal" space to work out of to get your ideas and tasks organized on a daily basis. :)

    Have a great day!
    Animated Confessions

    ReplyDelete
  3. What wonderful thoughts indeed, greetings and best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Slowly but surely, I'm getting better....I'm a work in progress! ;-)

      Delete
  5. Totally agree that you should surround yourself with like-minded people that are motivated and dedicated! That's so awesome that you're a freelancer!

    Tina
    www.justatinabit.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Loved the post!! Such a dreamy job!
    Dora www.bangsbang.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love this post! It's great to be freelancer!
    xo,Jane
    http://www.fitfabfunmom.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jane! I'm loving it, challenges and all :)

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Janna

      Delete
  8. I absolutely love this post and am thinking about venturing out as a freelancer soon! Such great thoughts and insights!

    You rock! // http://lifeplusbe.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, Megan! Being a freelancer comes with its challenges but it's so rewarding. I say go for it! :)

      xo, Janna

      Delete

© It's Me, J.Marie.